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How to Explain to an Interviewer Why You Left Your Last Job

How to Explain to an Interviewer Why You Left Your Last JobDuring a job interview, questions about your last position are inevitably going to come up. If you left your previous job, this may cause some anxiety for you. You want to be truthful with the hiring manager, but don’t want them to feel suspicious or uneasy about the reason behind your departure. At the same time, you can’t begin badmouthing your former employer in order to paint an accurate picture about why you left. In order to handle the situation gracefully, keep these tips in mind:

Give information, but don’t go overboard

You need to provide honest and accurate information about why you left your last job, but you don’t need to give a never-ending explanation about what happened. Say enough so that the hiring manager can fully understand why you parted ways with your former employer, but don’t start sharing nitty gritty details about your experience with this company.

Stick to the facts

Even if your past employer treated you terribly and there’s absolutely no way that anyone could disagree, you still want to present only the facts when covering your departure. Delving into drama is unprofessional and may give the interviewer a negative impression of you. If you’re willing to speak badly about one former boss, what’s to prevent you from doing the same about another in the future? Once you’ve presented the relevant information, move on.

Find a way to stay positive

As hard as it may be, shove any hurt feelings aside and make it a point to put a positive spin on the situation. Employers want to hire someone with a good attitude, and your attempt to grin and bear it will be appreciated during the interview. Going off on a rant about the situation doesn’t allow you to present your best self.

Most importantly, remember to keep the interview conversation focused on the open position that you’re there to discuss. Yes, you’ll need to explain your past experiences, but once you’ve provided basic information then you’re free to move on. Focus on the positive opportunity in front of you, and let the hiring manager see your enthusiasm about this job.

Image: Sergey Nivens/

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.

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